Bitly is announcing that Mark Josephson (pictured), who was most recently senior vice president of Patch Labs at AOL, has joined the link-shortening and tracking company as its new CEO.
Peter Stern, who served as CEO for about a year, stepped down in March to “pursue other interests.” (Chief scientist Hilary Mason also left recently to become data scientist in residence at venture firm Accel Partners.)
Josephson joined AOL through the acquisition of local news startup Outside.In, where he was CEO. He told me he was excited to take the new job because of the “worldwide global scale” that Bitly has achieved, with 2 billion clicks on its links every month. He also noted that he’s known Bitly’s investors, including Betaworks’ John Borthwick and Sam Mandel, for a long time.
Josephson said one of his immediate goals is to help get the company’s new audience intelligence product out the door. According to Mandel, that product is the first illustrating a broader shift in Bitly’s strategy. The company has long had access to vast amounts of data, he said, but “the change in direction is that just having that data isn’t really enough — we need to put a layer of science and intelligence on top.”
So with the audience intelligence product, Bitly can give customers more data about “who is actually interacting with their content,” for example by telling them about the other types of content those users have clicked on. There should be new products for individual power users (as opposed to large companies) too, Mandel said.
He added that he has been working with Bitly for the past four months to improve product, execution, and sales, and to “bring back a little more of a startup culture and energy.” Mandel said Josephson was “our ideal candidate” for the CEO job.
Josephson left his position at AOL last week and will take a few weeks off before joining Bitly full-time. The company is also announcing that it has hired Andrew Beranbom, co-founder of Extole, as its chief revenue officer.